There’s not much that surprises me about the Mueller report. I’m not surprised they didn’t any official conspiracy; I said from the start that they wouldn’t prove that. What the Russians did was with a wink and a nod and it preceded Trump’s nomination. They just saw an opportunity with Trump. But on the obstruction of justice investigation seems to have one gaping contradiction in it.
Mueller concludes that he can’t charge Trump with obstruction because he couldn’t prove intent, a point Attorney General Barr reiterated in his press conference before the report was released. And he couldn’t prove intent because he didn’t get to interview Trump in person, only submit written questions. And he didn’t think it was worth the years-long court battle that would have ensued if he tried to subpoena him. But then Barr himself provided the motive:
And as the Special Counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.
Sincere or not, there is no question from his own public statements that Trump was furious about the investigation and did everything he could to end it. The report details at least ten actions taken to obstruct the investigation, which are really no matter what motivated him to do it. And the man defending him provided one such motivation.